This article was written by Trudie Cameron - Practice Director – Sydney

Trudie is an accredited specialist in criminal law and practises exclusively in criminal and traffic law. Trudie defends clients charged with both state and commonwealth offences and appears on their behalf in Local and District Courts. Trudie has also instructed counsel in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court....

Revenge Porn


Revenge Porn is a phenomenon that has started to occur since the use of the internet has become widespread. It consists of the non-consensual sharing of intimate images of a former partner with a malicious or vengeful intent. Numerous offences relating to revenge porn now exist, after calls from community and advocacy groups to criminalise such behaviour.

In 2018 NSW introduced offences into the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) to criminalise behaviour that is colloquially referred to as ‘Revenge Porn’. These offences are:

What Is Revenge Porn?

‘Revenge Porn’ is the name given, by the media, to the distribution of explicit and intimate content (usually videos or pictures) without the consent of those in the picture or video. A number of high profile cases overseas and in Australia involved ex-partners releasing images after an acrimonious separation, which gave rise to the name ‘revenge porn’.

Introduction of Offences

In the past, In 2018, a further offence of Use Carriage Service to Menace/Harass/Offend introduced into the legislation. This was an aggravated offence involving private sexual material.

In 2015, a parliamentary inquiry looked into the issues surrounding legislating against ‘revenge porn’. A few of the important issues considered were:

  • how the legislative framework impacts juveniles who share intimate pictures of themselves;
  • the need to make a distinction between the consensual sharing of intimate images and the sharing of such images with malicious intent;
  • the need to empower the Privacy Commissioner with the power to swiftly remove offensive content.

On 5 September 2016, the NSW Government issued a statement indicating that discussions were to commence on how the offence should be drafted and defined and what penalties should apply.

The Current Framework

New offences were introduced into NSW law in 2018 which make it illegal to:

  • distribute (send or upload) a person’s intimate image without their consent;
  • record an intimate image, including video, of a person without the person’s consent;
  • threaten to record or distribute an intimate image of a person without their consent.

Interstate Offences

Victoria and South Australia were the first states to criminalise Revenge Porn in 2016 and 2017 respectively after they each passed legislation making it an offence for individuals to share intimate content without the consent of all parties.

Over time, the other states have begun passing similar legislation, with the Northern Territory and the ACT introducing legislation in 2017, Western Australia in 2018 and Queensland in 2019. As of May 2020, Tasmania does not yet have revenge porn legislation.

Penalties

In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for these offences:

If you would like advice on revenge porn or any other legal matter you can call us on 1300 038 223 or email us.

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If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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